A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed ReSpeaker board combining MediaTek MT7688 WiFi SoC with WM8960 audio DAC, running OpenWrt, and allowing you to perform tasks using text-to-speech and speech-to-text thanks to the built-in microphone (or optional microphone array), and a 3.5mm audio jack to connect speakers, as well as several I/O pins. It turns out there’s been board with similar features, minus the built-in microphone, available in China for a while. Meet Widora-NEO.
Widora-NEO board specifications:
- SoC – Mediatek MT7688AN MIPS SoC @ 580 MHz with built-in WiFi
- System Memory – 128 MB RAM
- Storage – 16MB SPI flash, micro SD card
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 1T1R up to 150 Mbps with PCB antenna, or IPEX connector
- Audio – 3.5mm jack for stereo headphone and mono microphone, WM8960G audio codec
- USB – 1x micro USB port for programming via CP2104 chip, 1x micro USB host (or is it OTG?) port.
- Expansion headers
- 19-pin P1 header with UART, GPIO, WPS, Ethernet LINK, I2S, GND, and 3.3V signals
- 28-pin P2 header with SPI, GPIO, PWM, UART, SDIO, GND, 3.3V, and 5V signals
- Misc – Reset and WPS buttons, some LEDs
- Power Supply – 5V DC via micro USB port or header.
- Dimensions – 76.20 x 35.56 mm
The board is running OpenWrt Chaos Calmer R4937 with Mediatek official closed-source drivers, support for AP and STA (APCLI0) modes. I could also find some references to Node.JS in the pictures, and spotted some commits credited to bug fixes made on ReSpeaker OpenWrt. The back of the board features an “Open Source hardware” logo, and while I could find OpenWrt and U-boot on their Github account, I was unable to find any hardware files. They also have a dedicated website with forums, but all information is only in Chinese at the time.
The board will be much harder to play with compared to ReSpeaker for people who can’t read Chinese, but at the same time, it’s quite cheaper, as it sells for 99.00 RMB ($14.86), 106 RMB ($15.91) with OTG (cable?), or 140 RMB ($21) with a camera on Taobao. Widora-NEO is also listed on Aliexpress, but for $200 they probably don’t plan to sell it, still you will some more Google translated details on that page. The main developer also has a Twitter account, where he mentions an upcoming Widora-AIR based on Espressif ESP32.